Arvin stops Lee in 3rd, stays unbeaten

Balto. junior middleweight overcomes slow start, improves mark to 9-0-1


March 12, 2004|By Lem Satterfield | Lem Satterfield,SUN STAFF

Baltimore junior middleweight Ishmail Arvin made his second straight appearance on a Ballroom Boxing card at Glen Burnie's Michael's Eighth Avenue last night. It was also just his second nationally televised professional fight.

And just like the previous time he was being seen across the country, the slick 28-year-old stole the show.

Arvin overcame a slow start against Willie Lee of Gulfport, Miss., then used a barrage of punches that forced Lee's cornerman, Denver Anderson, to throw in the towel at 2:40 of the third round.

The bout had been scheduled for six rounds.

The victory, the sixth by knockout for Arvin, raised his record to 9-0-1 before a sellout crowd of well over the capacity of 1,800 on a card televised by Comcast SportsNet.

"I always seem to start out slow and warm up as I go along." Arvin said. "I started catching him with the right hands, and then I caught him clean and strong to the body, and those shots started to wear him down."

Arvin was in his first fight with Hasim Rahman's former trainer, Adrian Davis, who replaced Baltimore's Mack Lewis in his corner.

"I just saw that [Lee] was punching with a puncher, wasn't boxing like he should have, and he got battered and cut, and I couldn't stop it." said Anderson, Lee's sole cornerman. "I'm not a cutman, so with him taking a beating like that, it was time to stop it."

Arvin fought Lee (10-3) on the undercard of a 10-round heavyweight bout that featured Baltimore native Rahman (35-5-1, 29 knockouts) on the comeback trail against former cruiserweight champion Al Cole (34-12-3, 16 KOs), who will turn 40 on April 21.

Rahman, 31, entered the bout with an 0-3-1 record since his April 2001 knockout of Lennox Lewis that earned him the undisputed world championship. Rahman's previous bout was a 12-round unanimous decision loss to John Ruiz for the World Boxing Association title.

Off to a slow start in the first round last night, a wide-eyed Arvin was outhustled and beaten to the punch by Lee.

Arvin absorbed an assortment of punches that included right crosses and uppercuts, and appeared bewildered as he returned to his corner.

But Arvin found the mark in the second round, where two straight right hands staggered his man - the first one sending Lee to a neutral corner. A series of body blows, followed by an uppercut, caused a cut above Lee's right eye and had him on unsturdy legs at the end of the round.

His hands low to start the third round, Lee was in trouble again after being nailed early by another straight right hand. Arvin then hammered Lee to the ropes, following him to that spot, where the helpless fighter was nailed several times before Anderson saw the need to end it as referee Bill Holmes came to Lee's rescue.

A White Marsh resident who relies solely on boxing as his source of income, Arvin didn't miss a beat in his second appearance on national television.

Arvin's first televised appearance was Aug. 5, 2003 in Washington. Before a crowd of about 1,000 on ESPN2, Arvin showed power and heart that night en route to a unanimous decision over another southpaw, Leon Pearson of Detroit, in a fight where both fighters were bloodied.

Although he was fighting on the undercard of a main event that featured junior middleweight Hector Camacho Jr. winning a lackluster decision over Bryon Mackie, Arvin turned in a show-stealing performance that brought the crowd to its feet.

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